Oliver Fisher – Mr 59


Oliver Fisher – Mr 59

 After 46 years and over 690,000 rounds of golf the European Tour finally has its Mr 59 – Oliver Fisher.

The Englishman broke the barrier in the second round of the Portugal Masters on Friday, carding ten birdies and an eagle in a stunning 12 under par bogey-free effort that will go down in European Tour folklore.

There had previously been 19 rounds of 60 on Tour, starting with David Llewellyn in 1988 and with the most recent coming from Brandon Stone at this season’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.

Darren Clarke did it twice and Scott Jamieson did it at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course in the third round in 2013, missing a birdie putt on the last to claim his place in the history books.

Fisher had the luxury of being able to par the 18th for his big moment and the feeling looked to be as much one of relief as joy as he got down in two from 40 feet.

  Oliver Fisher signs for a 59

“It’s a great feeling,” he said. “It feels great to make history here in Portugal. It’s a great tournament and it’s great for the European Tour and obviously myself to shoot 59.

“I was chuffed with the day. When I went out I was at level par and trying to make the cut, and then shooting that, it was just a great day all round.

“It was fun, I tried to enjoy it and thankfully I got over the line.”

The 30 year old had been tipped as a serious prospect from a young age, winning Sir Nick Faldo’s Junior Series in 2003, 2004 and 2005 and in the same year – at 16 years and 334 days – becoming the youngest player to play in the Walker Cup when he represented Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the Chicago Golf Club.

He turned pro in 2006 and earned his card at the Qualifying School, narrowly keeping his playing privileges in his rookie season and then finishing 51st in the Rankings in 2008.

He lost his card the following year but made enough via invites and top tens to get his playing privileges back in 2010 and, after making just three of 21 cuts in the 2011 season, he won his only title so far at the Czech Masters.

He lost his card in 2013 but once again thrived off invites and top tens in 2014 to finish 56th before facing a battle for his card in 2015 and 2016.

Two years ago the final event to keep your card was in Vilamoura and Fisher recorded a closing 64 to achieve a top ten and finish 99th on the Rankings – an impressive performance but a far cry from his 59 heroics.

“It’s a very different feeling here in 2018 compared to what it was like back in 2016, I think,” he said. “That was in the back of my mind. I got a great round going on that Sunday and it was a matter of keeping things going on that day. I felt like I had done it before, so that was a good thing to look back on.”

Fisher began his second round on the Algarve eight shots off the lead and started with three birdies, eagled the par five fifth from a bunker and then added further gains on the sixth and eighth to turn in 28.


He birdied the tenth and 11th and when he got on the green at the par five 12th in two and made a third birdie in a row, he was ten under for the day.

The Essex native got up and down from the side of the driveable par four 15th for another birdie but needed to hole a 20-footer to save par at the par three next after leaving his tee-shot a long way from the hole.

He got on the par five 17th in two and another birdie meant a routine par up the last sealed his place in the history books.

“I started the round really well with three birdies and then managed to hole a bunker shot on the fifth, so I was five under through five,” he said.

“I missed a couple of chances on seven and nine, so I could have quite easily been out in nine under. I got on to a run around ten, 11, 12, so then I was thinking 59 was on the cards with 15 and 17 ahead of me.

“The big hole for me was 16. I hit a poor shot into the green and had a tough decision to make whether I chipped it or putted it. Went with the putter and left it a long way short and managed to hole a 20-footer for par.

“After that it was about hitting a couple of good drives on 17 and 18 which I did, and I just tried to enjoy it really.

“My caddie Guy did great, I said on the back of the 16th green, ‘it’s not very often that we get a chance like this so just hit a couple of good drives and enjoy it. If it happens it happens and if it doesn’t it doesn’t’.

“It’s quite easy when you’re in that position to be quite tentative but I got my driver going really well, which was really important.”

Oliver Fisher’s European Tour career coming into this week spanned 12 years, 346 events, one win and 24 other top tens.

Who knows what else the future may bring but one thing is for certain – he will forever be the European Tour’s Mr 59.

 

EUROPEAN TOUR NEWS

Photo Credits – GETTY IMAGES

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